by Marco Nunez
From one vantage point, the Alignment Process is nearly entirely comprised of dealing with the Ego. While I am sure the Ego has always been a challenge and potential trap for humans, it seems like our current culture exacerbates things enormously.
Ego is not inherently bad - it is actually an integral part of our ability to have the human experience.
Imagine for a moment what the experience would be like if the Egoic/dualistic distinctions that are present at the physical, psychological, psychic/astral planes of existence weren't there. It seems to me it would just be a big chaotic, simultaneous cacophony of thought and experience without any way to differentiate if it came from you, me, the angelic being next to us or the squirrel outside our window.
The problem occurs when we don't subjugate the Ego to its proper place and even worse, identify its voice as the Essential "I."
When we refer to the Ego (I believe) we are referring to a complex and interconnected web of interactions between our humans and what I will term the "lower" aspect of our Souls (referred to as the Animal Soul in some traditions - neither "lower" or "animal soul" carry with them any value judgments) - when we are "Unconscious" we unwittingly allow Ego to take control of our thinking and emotional bodies and because we are listening to the Ego voice (identifying with it as "I" instead of simply a powerful aspect of our human machine/suit) we are excited/energized by the things it is concerned with.
The Ego Body is constantly looking for things that affirm its understanding of who we "are." Its fingerprints are very recognizable because it always wants to do something for a reason OTHER THAN the simple enjoyment of that action. Your Higher Self is content with doing a thing for the sake of doing it. Your Higher Self knows exactly what and who you are and knows the plan you designed and requested before incarnating so it has no need of acknowledgement or reinforcement.
The objective, as I have experienced it, is not to destroy the Ego but to put it in its proper place in the hierarchy of your Inner World. This balance is what the Alignment Process creates within us as we are taught by undeniable experience that only those things aligned with our Higher Self and its desires will truly satisfy.
PS Put in its proper place, the Ego can actually be used to help you achieve and manifest desired outcomes. For example: If surfing the energy created by your Ego's desire to look a certain way helps you eat in a way that is more supportive for your Body and Soul and you can do it while remaining aware of what you are doing and why, then go for it!
I believe that the most mundane things in life are just as holy as the most powerful mystical experiences.